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VW first-quarter profit drops 3.6 percent on accounting changes

FILE PHOTO: Two Volkswagen car delivery towers are pictured at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen on Thursday posted a surprise drop in first-quarter operating profit as accounting changes, currency headwinds and technology costs weighed on group results.

Group earnings before interest and taxes declined 3.6 percent to 4.21 billion euros ($5.13 billion), VW said, below the 4.47 billion-euro consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.

Without the accounting changes, operating profit came in slightly above last year’s level of 4.37 billion euros, VW said.

The carmaker stuck to its 2018 guidance published in February, predicting a return on sales of between 6.5 and 7.5 percent before special items, compared with 7.4 percent last year.

Revenue is expected to exceed the 2017 record of 231 billion euros by as much as 5 percent while group deliveries may moderately exceed last year’s 10.7 million vehicles, VW said.

($1 = 0.8207 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan